A British Legion stalwart has expressed his absolute disgust after giant Remembrance Day poppies were ripped down.
The large foot-square plastic memorials went missing from two lamp standards in Market Street, Hindley, last weekend.
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The bright red poppies have been installed across the borough over the last few days as part of the commemoration events to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One.
Now community leaders are requesting the CCTV data which covers the area on Friday evening/Saturday morning to see if the culprits can be identified and, hopefully, prosecuted.
Hindley Poppy Appeal organiser for the Royal British Legion, Coun Jim Talbot, said: “They have been put up as a visual reminder, a focal point, to encourage people to donate.
“It leaves you really wondering, doesn’t it, about people who would do this to something so significant and so important on the eve of the centenary of the end of the war.
“They are unthinking idiots who can’t have a decent bones in their bodies.
“The sponsored poppies are official ones supplied by the Legion and they are plastic cable tied secured, so they take some real ripping down.
“This is clearly not a case of some drunk just reaching up and snatching them on the way home from the pub.
“Everybody knows what they are and what they stand for, which is why it is so upsetting. We were out on Sunday replacing them because they, along with the poppies hopefully we all buy for our lapels, are very important.
“Anything that could mean less money being raised for the families of service personnel and needy ex services themselves leaves me despairing.
“These people may think it is a joke but I - and I am sure most other right thinking people - don’t think it is a laughing matter.”
Coun Talbot said that over all he was delighted with the support that Hindley people were giving to the Armistice commemorations, from Waves of Poppies outside the town’s churches, to the number of individual poppies being displayed on coats and sweaters of shoppers.
A council spokesperson said: “We would urge the Royal British Legion to inform Greater Manchester Police on this incident and we will cooperate with them in any investigation.”